Aug. 3. 2013 By Jack Jodell.
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
- Jesus Christ, as quoted in Matthew 25: 45 -
We Americans e like to think of ourselves as belonging to the greatest, most prosperous and civiluzed nation in the history of the world. We proudly refer to ourselves as belonging to a “Christian nation” and display our supposed adherence to the Christian religion as proof of our superior. divinely-inspired enlightenment. We view Adolf Hitler’s Nazis, whom we soundly defeated in 1945, as having been aggressive, vicious barbarians wholy unfit to rule western civilization. It was Hitler, you may recall, who was responsible for the greatest mass genocide in all history, having put to death millions upon millions of innocent European Jews in a blind fury of senseless rage, sheer arrogance, and unfounded prejudice. He did this by forcibly rounding up those Jews and then resettling them in large concentration camps where they were very soon brutally murdered.
I maintain that present-day America is NOT all that morally superior to Nazi Germany, and that we, too, have been sentencing millions of innocent people to our new form of concentration camp: NEEDLESS ABJECT POVERTY!
True, we have not rounded up our poor and embarked on a campaign to murder them. But there are many, many ways other than outright murder to kill a person in this country. (Just as some salespersons can be robbers without a gun, and instead use only a briefcase). We can deliberately underpay a person, fire him or her for attempting to unionize their place of work, or deny him or her access to something they truly want or need. We can and often do understaff our businesses, causing workers to run themselves ragged. We can and often do discriminate against others based on their appearance, race, or creed. We can bully or humiliate them. We can and many times do discourage them from entering our communities and neighborhoods (just like what was done with Teayvon Martin before he was trailed and then viciously shot). We can and often do discourage them from voting. Worst of all, we shun poor people and push them aside to make them live in ghettos or tenement housing, deliberately setting them apart from the rest of society. Conservative, reactionary Republicans and their heartless Tea Party allies like Lyin’ Paul Ryan push to eliminate large chunks of the social safety net and try to force a ridiculous, unjust, and fully unneeded austerity budget on the country which will drastically affect our poorest citizens. How a grown man like Ryan, himself a former Social Security recipient, can still naively cling to the largely discredited crazy economic ideas of Ayn Rand is way beyond my comprehension! For all of these actions help kill an innocent person’s spirit, sense of self-worth, dignity, and dreams. It is a cruel assault on a poor person’s right to pursue happiness. Each, in its own demeaning way, is an insidious act of character assassination; a murder of the soul.
These are America’s new concentration camps: abject poverty. Unlike those which existed in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe from 1939-1945, they are, for the most part, borderless and exist in a shapeless world of societal prejudice. Yet they are very real and every bit as demoralizing and deadly. We should be ashamed that they are found within our borders. There is simply no justification whatsoever for a country as loaded with vastly overpaid pro athletes, media personalities, bankers, and corporate executives as we are to have the rising rate of poverty we are seeing today. Vastly UNDERPAID fast food workers in a number of major U. S. cities have just launched a strike for a livable wage of $15 per hour, and I strongly support and encourage them in their efforts! Of course, cold-hearted, ignorant, fat cat millionaires like Sean Hannity of Fox “News” apparently take great delight in looking down on these workers, and tell insulting lies about how increasing their wages that much would double the consumer cost of a Big Mac, when university studies have shown the cost would only go up by 68 cents. Meanwhile, he fails to say anything about how McDonalds and other fast food providers make millions in record profits off of the labor of their captive labor force. It is our moral obligation to take action IMMEDIATELY to relieve this utterly senseless and needless poverty and put a stop to this utter exploitatuin! We must act NOW to reduce the preposterous level of disparity in wealth we have in this country today. Until we accomplish this leveling-out of incomes, we are being nothing more than complacent foot-soldiers of greedy capitalists compounding rather than solving the problem, and we are as blind and morally depraved as were the Nazis who failed to act against their own government’s murderous madness during World War II! We are a far better people than this. Let’s start behaving like it!